Users of mobile phones on different kinds of data-enabled networks will be able to communicate using push-to-talk services if carriers implement the Ericsson Instant Talk system.
Push-to-talk allows a mobile phone to act like a walkie-talkie so users can get in touch with their most important contacts.
Nextel Communications has made a popular service out of this capability on its iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) infrastructure which is mainly sold to enterprises.
Push-to-talk capability can save time for professionals, but also allow for enhanced communication among friends and family members, according to Ericsson.
Carriers can install the Ericsson system on their networks and, once they establish business arrangements with other carriers, can offer customers a service that reaches the other type of network, said Peter Lancia, director of product and technical marketing for CDMA systems at Ericsson.
Instant Talk is a standards-based, server-based system designed for integration into networks from any supplier, and is also a platform that can be used to bring in other packet-based phone services in the future, according to Ericsson.
In addition to CDMA2000-1x and GSM/GPRS, Instant Talk is designed to work across Edge (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution), Wideband CDMA and wireless Lan networks.
Additional features include a list of which contacts are on the network at a given time, and a message feature that lets users pick up a spoken Instant Talk message if they missed it earlier.
It uses packet-based voice transmission, which also will allow the system to be used for instant messaging, video phone calls and instant sending of live digital photos in the future, Lancia said.
Instant Talk is based on open standards, so carriers with different kinds of networks can make it work without complicated configuration work, according to Ericsson, although they will have to make business arrangements to allow the communication. The system also does not require any other investment in those existing packet data networks, Lancia said.
The Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications P800 phone is equipped with a push-to-talk button. Other phones can be modified to assign that function to an existing button, he said. The technology will be commercially available to carriers in the second half of this year.